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Last Updated: Jan 10th, 2011 - 11:11:15

Reviews - Books for Children  

Our White House - Review
ClassBrain Networthy Award

By Cynthia Kirkeby
Aug 26, 2008, 20:01 PST

A new book on the White House, Our White House, has hit the scene after over eight years in production. Created in conjunction with the National Children’s Book and Literary Alliance, this children’s book is a delight to read and view. Compiling the work of over 100 children’s authors and illustrators, Our White House presents a fun, fascinating, beautifully illustrated view of the history of the White House and the people who have inhabited it. We liked it so much, we’ve given it a ClassBrain’s Networthy Award.

It covers over 200 years of history, some of it groundbreaking and come of it not. Kids will be thrilled to read about ghosts that haunt the rooms of the White House, and the people they’ve spooked A notable sighting was made by Winston Churchill, who saw the former President Lincoln leaning against the fireplace mantle as he exited his bath tub, cigar in hand. Never at a lost for words he said, “Mr President you seem to have me at a disadvantage.” Despite his lighthearted reply, Churchill would never stay in the Lincoln room again.

The contributor list for Our White House looks like a who’s who of children’s literature and illustration. Tony Auth is a Pulitzer Prize winning political cartoonist, and David McCullough is a Pulitzer Prize writer, and Michael Winerip is a Pulitzer Prize reporter for The New York Times. Leo and Diane Dillon, Barbara Kerley, Jerry Pinkney, Chris Rashka, Jon Scieszka, Brian Selznick, David Small, Ed Young, Nancy Willard, and David MacCaulay are all winners of the prestigious Caldecott Award. Similarly, Newberry Awards have been won by a large percentage of the participants, including:Linda Sue Park, Katherine Patterson, Richard Peck, Mark Phelan, S.D. Schindler, Jerry Spinelli, Stephanie S. Tolan, Nancy Willard, and Polly Horvath to name just a few.

Each author and illustrator has contributed a little of themselves to this project, giving Our White House, the feeling of exploring this historic building with a bunch of close friends. This treasury consists of essays, short stories, comics, poems, Presidential letters, speeches, illustrations, and personal reflections.

Kids will learn about the Presidents who lived in the White House with their families and how each one impacted the building as well as our country. The women of the White House have not been ignored either, with glimpses into the lives of Eleanor Roosevelt, Barbara Bush, Frances Cleveland who was a White House bride, and more. Some of the fascinating pieces in Our White House are anything but run of the mill. There are short stories, poems, and letters by kids from all over the country that explore what would be like to live at the White House or experience events that happened there.

Our White House is one of those rare books that come along full of wonderful stories that you want to pick up over and over again, and the illustrations just reinforce that urge with every page you turn. A fun little poem by Jon Scieszka made me giggle when I read it, especially when I took a look at the hysterical illustration by Tony Fucile that was coupled with it:
White House, O White House, place of great fame,
Don’t you think it’s a bit of a shame
That for this grand residence,
Home of our presidents,
That’s the best we could do for a name?
This book should be in every school library across the country. It’s a marvelous read, put together by some of our best writers and illustrators. For those who buy Our White House for their home, you’ll undoubtedly find it picked up again and again by your children and their through the years.

© Copyright 2008 by

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ClassBrain Networthy Award